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Bosch looks to mains-free tool future

PLANT

POWER tool giant Bosch believes it is has perfected the battery technology that will see cordless tools replace most mains-powered machines on site over the coming years.

The German-based firm is set to unveil new tools based on long-running lithium ion batteries that will offer the user a choice of power outputs while addressing the operatives' major gripe of excess weight.

Next spring, it will add a lightweight 36 V combihammer producing 600 W to the heavy-duty 36 V, 1,100 W tool and the 10.8 V screwdriver that it is currently rolling out in the UK.

Bosch Product manager Michael Koch said: 'In our research, users said they wanted the performance of a corded machine but not the weight from the battery pack.

'There is no 2 kg corded machine on the market that is faster than our current 36 V tool but the new machine will be the same weight as an equivalent 14.8 V cordless tool.

We will be the first company to allow the user to scale the tool power up or down depending on what he wants to do.' The firm is confident that it has developed the handling and charging of the lithium ion batteries so that they have a long running time.

The advantages claimed for lithium ion include high energy density, fast charging, high voltage and low self-discharge, avoiding the need to completely drain the batteries before recharging. The tools are likely to sell at around a 30-40 per cent premium over other types.

Mr Koch said: 'Lithium cells are more sensitive than NiCad and not all our competitors have managed to sort out the cell protection. The control of the heat is the key.' Its new range contains an electronic chip to regulate the performance and prevent overcharging.

He added that in Europe, cordless tools now accounted for 40 per cent of the market:

'I don't know whether it will be five, 10 or 15 years, but soon most tools will be cordless.'